Lincoln-Way West Students Prepping for International Bridge Building Competition
Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Lincoln-Way West senior Ray Muro Barrios and junior Ryan Hastings have spent much of their spare time building and breaking bridges in preparation for the International Bridge Building Competition on April 25 at the Museum of Science and Industry in Portland, Oregon.

The two qualified for the International Competition after Hastings took first place and Muro Barrios took second place in the Regional Bridge Building Competition held at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago.

Im excited to compete at the International competition because the smartest of the smartest students will be there and it will be great to see how I match up against them, said Hastings who plans to study civil engineering after high school.

Lincoln-Way West Physics teacher Chester Szmurlo said that Hastings and Muro Barrios earned the only two allotted slots in the south suburban division to compete at the international level. Lincoln-Way High School District 210 students also took the top 11 positions at the regional competition.

Hasting's bridge took first place with a bridge efficiency of 2809, with Ray's bridge placing 2nd with an efficiency of 2545. Ryan's bridge also won the trophy for highest efficiency in the entire competition.

The International competition will be the final test to see if you can finish and win, said Muro Barrios who plans to study pharmacy in college. I keep hoping that Ill go to bed and have a dream with the perfect design. My strategy is to keep it simple.

Szmurlo said bridge building teaches his students workmanship, perseverance and analysis skills. Students use a computer model to measure the force of the bridge and when it collapses, they are able to study what went wrong. These bridges, Szmurlo said, can carry 2,800 times their weight.